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Old 04-25-2010, 05:18 PM   #1
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A shared well - do I need a pressure tank


I have a house with a shared well with probably 3 other families and have never been on a well before. The area is seasonal - more people in the summer - and although we haven't experienced any problem yet, I'm worried that we might. I don't know any of the well information but we have sufficient pressure/volume to take a shower and run the washer & maybe wash your hands in a sink.

So what's the skinny on pressure tanks, does it sound like I need one and if so - how do you size it? Is there purpose to provide steady pressure in the advent of too much use?

Last, if a tank is recommended do I need a booster pump?

The house is 3bdrm/3 bath and about 2,500 sqft
Rick

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Old 04-25-2010, 05:30 PM   #2
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A shared well - do I need a pressure tank


There must be a pressure tank at the pump house. Check it out--I doubt if you need a second one in your own house.

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Old 04-25-2010, 07:36 PM   #3
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A shared well - do I need a pressure tank


My engineering practice performs a bunch of well system calcs and consulting each year. It's not uncommon to have pressure tanks downstream of the pump in the distribution network, but it's not something to take lightly. I've seen systems run into serious problems with the water growing some nasty sea monkeys. If you park water in a storage tank and leave it stagnant long enough, it will turn into a garden. Or a zoo.

But to answer your question, sure you can install a hydropneumatic tank in your unit, but would it be warranted? There are too many unknowns right now. You have to look at the design that was intended at the time of construction, and what is required these days, to really tell if it's warranted.

If your house is 3br, 3bath, I'm assuming each family has 1br, 1bath each. Is that the case? The reason I ask is that who ever owns the place is bound by law to deliver a certain volume of potable water. In my state, that quantity gets calculated in very specific ways. The first round is the estimated quantity that the law (NJAC 5:21) says the system must be designed for. For a 1 bedroom apartment, that's 120 gallons per day, minimum. Then there's NJAC 7:10, the actual Safe Drinking Water Act, which lays out the requirements for wells, treatment, storage, distribution, etc. 7:10 is very particular in the requirements for well pump capacity, well yield, peak demand supply rate requirements, construction, etc. I have come to know that law quite well, thanks to some great people who turned me on to the business side of it.

I have a couple of concerns. You say it's a seasonal area. I'd be worried if the folks in your building that share your well aren't there year round. The water is probably stagnating in their branch lines, and you risk getting some bugs in your water. If you don't have a recent (6 months) water test result, and you're in a seasonal area, get one. I had a well in my last house, and I got the test done once a year. There are some trully abhorrent contaminants in ground water that can really destroy your health, so you should test. Septic systems are notorious, as is surface water intrusion. And remember, you can close a septic system, but the contaminants will stay there for 30 plus years.

I also have a concern about capacity. That's an easy calc to make in my state, because I know the design process like the back of my hand - for both the pumps and the tanks. If your neighbors are resident there, and you start running low on pressure, someone is liable for providing sufficient water. Usually it's in the lease or deed who carries that responsibility.

Also, if it's a seasonal area, there could be a delineation issue in the regs (especially in my state).

I tell this to folks when they wonder what to do: if it were me and my kids drinking and bathing in the waterr, I'd test the water for contaminants. If it fails for anything, whoever owns the well (and somebody does) is responsible for correcting it. If there's insufficient pressure or volume, then whoever owns the well is responsible for correcting it, because I'd bet a sandwich that your state's laws also prescribe the miminum acceptable quantity of water that should be delivered by a well to a residence. If you have a problem with either of those two issues, and you rent or lease, you be shocked, SHOCKED, how quick the response is when you call the township or county health department about your water.
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Old 04-25-2010, 10:27 PM   #4
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A shared well - do I need a pressure tank


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Originally Posted by upinsmoke View Post
I have a house with a shared well with probably 3 other families and have never been on a well before. The area is seasonal - more people in the summer - and although we haven't experienced any problem yet, I'm worried that we might. I don't know any of the well information but we have sufficient pressure/volume to take a shower and run the washer & maybe wash your hands in a sink.

So what's the skinny on pressure tanks, does it sound like I need one and if so - how do you size it? Is there purpose to provide steady pressure in the advent of too much use?

Last, if a tank is recommended do I need a booster pump?

The house is 3bdrm/3 bath and about 2,500 sqft
Rick
You can add a captive air pressure tank and a check valve in front of it and if the power goes off you may 2-3 gallons of water in the tank to use that otherwise you wouldn't have, but that's about the extent of any benefits from installing one.

You can't get more water out of the pipe from the existing tank than you get now, so a tank and booster pump isn't going to help low pressure. To use a booster pump you need to store water in an atmospheric tank and then repressurize it. You can talk to the two other neighbors and increase the pressure switch settings they run the pump at now, and don't forget to increase the captive air pressure to 1-2 psi less than the cutin (turn on the pump) setting with no water in the tank. I.E. 30/50 psi gets 29-28 psi air pressure with no water in the tank.
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:09 AM   #5
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A shared well - do I need a pressure tank


Thanks guys. Although I think I've got my answer from your responses - I'll clarify a few things. I own the house and all 3 bdrms are mine - any additional people in the house would be family and friends. We share the well with 3-4 other houses in the community. I assume the various wells (there are about 50 houses here) are owned by the community and are currently cared for by the developer who still lives on site.

We come to the house which is NC about every 6 weeks and a couple of months over the summer. As stated, there haven't been any water issues and I don't want to fix somthin' that ain't broke, but I also don't want a guest to be taking a shower and have the water come out like a urine stream.

Sounds like the consensus is leave things alone until there is a problem??
I'm addressing this now caus' in about a month I'm having the basement studded and plumbed so if changes need to be made, I'd like to do it during the construction phase.
Thanks again for the help
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:46 AM   #6
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A shared well - do I need a pressure tank


I think you are good to go!!! Enjoy the beaches and think of us flat-landers as you crack open a soft shell crab.--Mike---
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:40 AM   #7
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A shared well - do I need a pressure tank


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Originally Posted by upinsmoke View Post
We come to the house which is NC about every 6 weeks and a couple of months over the summer. As stated, there haven't been any water issues and I don't want to fix somthin' that ain't broke, but I also don't want a guest to be taking a shower and have the water come out like a urine stream.

Sounds like the consensus is leave things alone until there is a problem??
I'm addressing this now caus' in about a month I'm having the basement studded and plumbed so if changes need to be made, I'd like to do it during the construction phase.
Thanks again for the help
A pressure tank isn't going to change the water quality, and if you are concerned about quality as you say, now is the time to get a water analysis for hardness, iron, manganese if possible and if needed, install a softener etc..
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Old 04-26-2010, 01:06 PM   #8
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A shared well - do I need a pressure tank


Thanks all. I think I'll leave well enough alone for now. Gary, I was strictly concerned about quantity and not quality which I believe is o.k.
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Old 05-28-2010, 11:53 AM   #9
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A shared well - do I need a pressure tank


Quote:
Originally Posted by upinsmoke View Post
We share the well with 3-4 other houses in the community. I assume the various wells (there are about 50 houses here) are owned by the community and are currently cared for by the developer who still lives on site.
It might not be a bad idea to verify all of this. Is the developer responsible? And once he pulls out, who then?

We currently have our own well on our property, but originally this house shared a well with our neighbor (it was in the deed). This situation ultimately ended in a lawsuit between previous owners.

You don't want to wait until you're standing nekkid in a dry shower to figure this one out.
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Old 05-29-2010, 03:16 AM   #10
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A shared well - do I need a pressure tank


Thanks - I'll review the covenants and see who's ultimately responsible for the wells.

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